In an effort to start a conversation towards a more productive change in the politics and direction of the country does it not make sense at this time that these three areas are at the crux of the failure of this country?
Term limits were induced after FDR's reign as President because the people felt that too much power in the hands of one man indefinitely was not a healthy thing for the country. With several Congressmen and women holding positions in the House and the Senate for in some cases 38 years does this situation not apply to them as well? "As a lobbyist, I was completely against term limits. Once you buy a congressional office, you don't have to re-buy that office in six years, right?" Jack Abramoff
Publicly financed campaigns level the playing field and allow the the candidates and elected officials to concentrate on the business of running the country without the entanglement of fund raising because with only two terms there is no reason to spend so much time and money on supporting the political profession and get the work done they were elected to do.
Lobby reform is the cancer that eats away at any productive work towards serving the country displaced by those who go to the front of the line with influence and access. Without the need to raise funds for an election or re-election campaign the influence would be nill and the more important issues could finally be addressed.
I don't think that most of us have any issues with your common sense proposals to get the big money changers out of politics. The question is who is going to work with us and who will continue to resist this change?
Now that is the $100,000 dollar question isn't it! We have to exercise the rights our Constitution has allowed us. First is the ballot box. It has to be the end of all arguments whether liberally based or conservatively based. As long as we continue to try and cajole, argue, trick or insult each other to see things our particular way, we will be stuck in this never ending cycle of inaction and the career politicians eat it up. They even trick us every election by throwing things at us sideways to keep us divided. If you believe in Democracy and the Constitution then vote for what you want and let the cards fall where they may.
The second thing is that we need to educate those coming after us on history and economics, so everyone has a working idea as to what has been tried and failed by our predecessors. School the children for a number of years as to how our government works and finally make everyone be eligible for military service.
None of this is easy but is what we have now worth it?
Let's start at the ballot box, the only candidate that truly was interested in removing the tenacles was Sanders. Support for Bernie Sanders is not ideologically neutral as all the conservative posters here will attest to. I did vote in the way I wanted, but neither of the current candidates is taking us in the right direction. But, as I have said before, the choice I resign myself to takes into consideration other factors that, for me, are important. The status quo may be bad enough, but going backward away from any semblence of Hope is not going to help.
My point is that the objective of removing big money from politics is not something that is ideologically neutral. When you look at the recent judicial rulings and the tendency to conceal donors to campaigns, it gets easy to see who is the resistant to the idea. This same group and their representative party must do more of the same in the future to counteract demographics that are working against them. That demographic represent people at the polls verses money as the influence.
I attempted to go the right direction by supporting Bernie. Yes, it is about education. But, it is also about the curriculum and teachers. It is difficult to ignore all of the issues that drive people to the polls, as mundane as they may seem in comparison.
So we need more Bernies and fewer Clintons and Trumps. One side is clearly against everything he stood for, while the other, grassroots, considered him a viable candidate. So, 'sides' are being taken and the struggle to get control of all this back to the people is not going to happen from candidates with an authoritarian attitude. Trump is the antithesis of Sanders, Clinto has to at least attempt to address the needs of this constituency to stay viable politically.
What we all have to learn from this election and the last is that the system is broken. No change can happen from the top as we have witnessed time and again. Obama was stopped at the door by GOP elites who controlled Congress. Think of that! Somebody the people elected to change the system was halted before he even started. If that doesn't tell you who is in control I don't know what will. The change must come from the bottom. We must change the Constitution with term limits, stop the flow of influential money through publicly financed campaigns and restrict or cut off the money that the lobbyists throw at our civil servants to profit only themselves. Backing Bernie has got to show you how corrupt the system is with his own party submarining him in so many ways. It cannot start from the top because the top is the problem. It is like putting whipped cream on dog shit. It looks and tastes so good until you get to the real substance that lies beneath deep down. There is no silver bullet. It has to start in the trenches. The problem is with us and our antiquated loyalty to the two party system that has handed us this mess relying on our unthinking devotion. Until you identify a problem it is impossible to fix it.
I've never been a fan of tax money paying for a campaign for office. It just feels wrong to me. Heck, what's to prevent hundreds of people stepping up to run? How much would that cost us?
Term limits sounds great. That would make the return on an investment of buying a congressman difficult if it only buys a few years of influence.
We definitely need lobby reform. If we can't keep them out of Washington then we should have mandatory jail sentences for congressmen caught in their pockets.
The thing about having publicly financed campaigns is that the money is gone from the process. What the candidate must do then is gain support from his constituency on the basis of his merit and the amount of signatures he is able to get on a petition. The more signatures the more money he will earn for his bid to elected office. In this day and age of television campaigning and negative ads the time spent on a negative ad will be an expensive way to go especially if you don't spend it on getting your platform out there.
Hello again rhamsom, It would be interesting to look into your public campaign financing idea.
Would it be for national elections only?
Could private money be used to secure signatures?
Could private citizens do things to help their candidate gain support?
Aside from the classic "bad money and influence buying" that you are trying to curtail, what about other examples of citizen's efforts to help their candidate, like; get out the vote drives and information-spreading efforts, or support rallies, and such, are they curtailed also?
My first thoughts are that this could not be done without losing our right to support our candidate of choice. I agree that our goal should be to get rid of he classic "bad money and influence buying," but I don't see how public financing could do it without costing us a fundamental right.
Hello again to you too GA,
It would have to be systemic as the whole system with money as the vehicle driving it, starts at the beginning. Commissioner races here are fraught with the good old boy system of backroom deals and handshake alliances which bring about healthy contracts for the participants. Developers have been known to friend some influential voters on new housing projects. Money and long terms in office breed this behavior which becomes common practice with time. So yes it would have to be a national condition.
Signatures would have to be a grass roots start with volunteers collecting the signatures. If they were paid it would soon become a signature for dollars priority which would bring into question their validity. The volunteers could also run typical fund raising events such as car washes, 5K runs, concerts. These events would also become a great way for the candidate to get his message out to the attendees and participants. Anybody can speak out for a candidate as we all have that right.
Any and all events such as get out the vote drives and information-spreading efforts, or support rallies would be fine. As the candidate gets people out to these events and signatures he would be eligible for more local or federal funding based on his success.
I don't know how it weakens the individuals rights or choice to vote for the candidate of their liking. It would however weaken the stranglehold the two parties now have on us and the candidates of their choosing. Wouldn't it be nice to have a choice of a candidate who more closely relates to our ideologies and vision? Or could the one size fits all system the two parties currently give us ever produce anything new with all of their monetary encumberments?
The point I am leading to is if the system would be as you describe; bake sales, car washes and marathons, are still allowed - then your system isn't new, We already have that on the presidential level, and it is the system we are complaining about. You are just talking about scale.
A home cocktail party to gather signatures is no different in concept than a million dollar cocktail party at the coliseum for the same purpose. And if that home cocktail party is outlawed, then our free speech right is abridged.
The only apparent compromise would be limits. You can spend $100 for a cocktail party, but not $1,000,000. So who sets the limits? $500 for a commissioner party, $1000 for a state Rep. level...
... again, that is the system we already have.
And then there is the petition thing. What if a candidate has enough support to run, but not quite enough to meet a signature number threshold? He might not qualify for public financing, but is willing to spend his own money to run. Would he be allowed to?
My perception of the idea is that it would have to be all or nothing in order to try to keep bad money out. My problem with that is it abridges my right to support a candidate with more than my vote. If I want to buy a round of beers for my buddies so I could tell them about my candidate, I should be able to do that. Do you disagree? If not, then can I buy beers for a hundred buddies, or ten thousand?
Can I buy those beers only until placed on the ballet, (successful petition numbers)?
I think the public plan you propose can only work by abridging the rights of the best in order to try to eliminate the worst. I don't like the price. We don't need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to repair the spokes.
I see what you are saying and maybe there could be limits at certain levels. But even if that were to happen are you upset you can't donate more than others so your free speech carries more weight and has a better chance based on the candidates response to it? The purpose of any private funding would be for printing and operating expenses which would be accounted for in filing for more federal or local funding. Maybe no private funding should be allowed at all including the candidates personal fortune. The money even in this conversation is a stumbling block as we see for ourselves. Money is the basis for everything in this country and it has turned into a perversion of our system of government. I think it could be worked out if we as a collective put our best minds on it.
I think that whatever you or anyone else works out it can and will be circumvented and it won't take long to do so. The struggle will raise it's head again with every election cycle.
It has been that way with every law invented so far.
To answer your first question; no, I would not be mad if I had to abide by realistic limits - caps. But once again we are talking about what we already have. I also think that I can be an honest American and still find ways around the caps to do as much as I legally could to support my candidate - the birth of SuperPacs. And the same goes for all the other campaign reform stop signs. Stay within the law, but give my candidate the support I want to give.
I don't think any of that is wrong, or stoppable. I think it's natural.
Consider that perspective, (understanding the legal restrictions mentioned, and the moral restrictions implied just cause it's me saying it), across the scale mentioned with the earlier home cocktail party example. It is not the action that is wrong when done legally, and the scale can only be wrong if it exceeds established limits.
Those limits would be the "spokes," fix the ones you can, replace the ones you can't, add new ones as needed, and discard the ones that don't work.
Our problem to solve is how to get the Fox to write our hen house rules.
Total Public campaign financing is really a surrender. Asking a higher authority, (the Constitution), to do what we could and should be doing.
"Our problem to solve is how to get the Fox to write our hen house rules."
Our problem is to know and use the Constitution as it is written which the writers knew would need to change and thus the provision to do so is part of it. An Article V convention was written in the Constitution to over turn a corrupt Congress by allowing the constituency to change it to adjust to the perversion the forefathers assuredly foresaw. We the people, if we ever get out of our own way, can pass laws without Congress' approval that would take the money out of the campaigns, invoke term limits and reform the lobbying that so heavily influences the Congress.
It is a scary proposition because everything is up for review if it would ever take place. The real question is are we ready or brave enough to see if the democratic process really works or are we sheep too afraid to fix our own mess? I foresee great financial ruin ahead for most of the country and the wars are coming way to often to deny a connection between the greed and the politics.
He only problem with preventing lobbying is that would be against the 1st amendment. Lobbysists will continue to exist, however public donations should be capped. Clinton revives millions from big banks and millionaires and she's grossly outspending Trump and it waters down the most important conversations about policy.
Lobbyists for corporations should be barred from the halls of congress !
I have said we need term limits for years !
Americans are , seemingly , perfectly in tuned with modern day political corruption .
Most of Americans are choking on political apathy .
An Artcle V convention could clear it all up and we don't need Congressional support to pass it.
"An Article V convention was written in the Constitution to over turn a corrupt Congress by allowing the constituency to change it to adjust to the perversion the forefathers assuredly foresaw."
Convention of States.
To get term limits it will need an Article V constitution Convention. The lobby issue could be addressed then as well so that it is in the Constitution to take the money out of it. If somebody wants to spend their money to send a lobbyist to Congress then it will have to succeed on its merit and not the money.
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